Festival Review: Field Day 2010

on Sunday, August 08, 2010
Words: Saam Das

Field Day, London (31 July 2010)

There's always been a love/hate relationship with Field Day - love the bands, hate the weather; love the location, hate the organisation; and so on. But to be fair to the organisers this year, I think Field Day 2010 went well.

Things didn't start so well on the day. I did my typical miss-the-early-bands-because-I-like-sleeping-in, which meant managing to catch The Kissaway Trail was going to be touch-and-go. Inevitably, when I made it to Victoria Park, I had to spend ages queueing to collect a ticket that I'd bought online the day before. So I missed the band. I really might as well as have bought the ticket there. The queue was certainly shorter for that.

That wasn't the only bad thing - stage times weren't published online till the morning of the event, it was £4 for a can of unexpectedly horrible San Miguel, it was hard to tell where some of the stages were and which ones were which, and worst of all, THE PEOPLE. Too many twats. However, I don't want to moan too much. There there were plenty of highlights - the bands, the weather, not having to queue to go for a wee, getting home within half an hour of the festival finishing and so on.

Anyway, so this doesn't go on and on and on and on any longer, I've decided to give you the York Notes of my Field Day 2010 experience. In somewhat chronological order. Enjoy.

Steve Mason
I remain fairly unfamiliar with his work as a member of The Beta Band let alone his other solo monikers but baggy revival was not exactly what I was expecting. But unlike many of the acts of the day, Mason actually engaged in some banter, providing a rather amiable start to my Field Day 2010.

DOWNLOAD: Steve Mason - All Come Down

Beth Jeans Houghton
Much less folky than I had been led to believe but much more jaunty. A good thing, I'd say. Not so sure about the Amy Winehouse-esque hairdo, nor the Elvis cover, but mostly enjoyable otherwise.

These New Puritans
A bit melodramatic in their introduction to the stage with a bass clarinet duo and frontman Jack Barnett sporting a chainmail vest. Starting with the ominous 'We Want War', particular highlights of the set being debut album tracks 'Elvis' and 'Infinity Ytinifni'. Shame they lacked much needed visual stimuli to back up their intense musical performance.

DOWNLOAD: These New Puritans - We Want War (SBTRKT Remix)

Knob twiddling and button pushing can only get you so far, which is why I was thankful for a bit of guitar noodling during their hit-or-miss set, which was more hit than miss.

The Fall
Seemed as disinterested as the crowd they were playing to. The less said, the better.

Still not quite understanding the hype, nor the remarkable change in direction from Cajun Dance Party's sound, but I'm warming to them. More so on record than live, however. The grizzly drummer singing along to the songs was both amusing and heartening though.

DOWNLOAD: Yuck - Weakend

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Arguably the most crowd pleasing act of the day, having attracted my attention in the queue for dinner (a sausage and egg bap, if you were wondering) with their brass-based exuberance and successful efforts at crowd interaction.


Jangly pop which didn't do as much for me as I was hoping it would. The frontman looked a bit like a frazzled Paul Kaye from where I was standing. Not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Atlas Sound
I'm not really into Deerhunter but considering this was one of a minimal number of UK solo appearances that lead singer Bradford Cox was making, I felt like I should at least check some of his set out. There wasn't much there for the casual listener, with most of his songs seemingly melding into one. A missed opportunity.

DOWNLOAD: Atlas Sound - The Screens

One of the main attractions for many, they appeared a little lost on the main stage judging from the muted response of the crowd. Would have been better suited to one of the smaller stages/tents.

DOWNLOAD: Caribou - Sun (Claptrap Remix)

Toro y Moi
Surprisingly enjoyable and diverse, veering from a cacophonous wall of noise during one song to an funk epic in another. Unfortunately, I had to abandon them half way through the set. I sort of wished I'd stayed.

DOWNLOAD: Toro Y Moi - Leave Everywhere

Chapel Club

I did get somewhat distracted by their guitarist who bears resemblance to one hit wonder Jimmy Ray but ultimately, I was disappointed with a set that failed to consistently match their impressive debut single, 'Surfacing'.

DOWNLOAD: Chapel Club - The Shore


Playing a hit-laden set, which not only plundered the amazing 2009 album 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix' but also reminded us of such classics as 'Long Distance Call', Phoenix stepped up to their status as headliners and brought a mesmerising light show along with them. A triumphant end to Field Day 2010.

DOWNLOAD: Phoenix vs The Strokes - Last Nite's Lisztomania (DJ Franklyne Mash Up)

Photos by Tangentical. Buy discounted tickets for Field Day 2011 here.

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